JOPLIN, Mo. – Evangel rode a pair of strong mound performances and a balanced offensive attack to a pair of victories Sunday at Joplin High School, as the Valor bested Saint Mary by a 7-2 score in game one, before completing a 3-1 weekend with a 9-1 win over Graceland.
- Evangel (8-2) took advantage of five Saint Mary (2-6) errors in game one, scoring six runs in the home half of the fifth inning to turn a one-run game into a 7-0 advantage.
- Zach Johnston (2-0) fanned 10 Saint Mary hitters and allowed just two runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings, while Gage Harris logged three hits in the victory.
- The Valor scored nine times in the first three innings of its nightcap with Graceland.
- Noah Suiter recorded three hits and Mason Hansen and Dalton Cook added two-hit, two-RBI performances against GU (2-5).
- Austin Dill improved to 3-0 on the year, allowing just one unearned run on four hits, while striking out 10 Yellowjackets in 6.0 innings.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- EU took a 1-0 lead on Saint Mary in the home half of the first, as Harris singled, swiped second and moved to third on a throwing error, before trotting home on Athanie Leeviraphan's grounder to short.
- Johnston kept the Spires off the board through the first five frames, working around Saint Mary baserunners in each inning.
- The Valor scored six times in the fifth with the help of four Saint Mary miscues; EU scored its first four runs of the inning as a direct result of errors, including an errant throw by pitcher Drake Pingel with the bases loaded that allowed three runs to cross the plate.
- RBI singles by Suiter and Cook capped the Valor scoring in the fifth.
- Evangel scored early and often in game two, using a Hansen homer as a springboard to a three-run first inning; Suiter added an RBI double, before Cook plated a turn with a base hit.
- The Valor struck for five more runs in the second, getting RBI singles from Nathan Lamb and Leeviraphan, as well as run-scoring doubles by Hansen and Cook, the latter of whom came around on an errant throw after stealing third base.
- EU cashed in on two GU errors in the third, as Hansen and Lamb pulled off a double steal to produce the ninth Valor run.
- The Yellowjackets scored their lone run of the game against Dill in the home half of the third, capitalizing on a throwing error to start the inning, as well as a Chalin Dassau RBI double.
- Harris registered a career-best 3-for-4 performance in EU's win over Saint Mary.
- Suiter added a three-hit effort in game two to finish the day 4-for-7.
- Leeviraphan saw his eight-game hit streak come to an end in the opening contest, going 0-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI; he rebounded with a 1-for-3 effort in the second game.
- Dill notched his 16th career mound victory and his third in as many starts this season, matching his career high for strikeouts in a game with 10.
- Johnston established a new career high for strikeouts and won his second-straight decision and his seventh career game for the Valor.
"Johnson and Dill led us with great efforts on the mound, particularly in game one, where Johnson worked out of several jams in a tight game early on," Evangel head coach Tyler Henry said. "Offensively, we executed well when we needed to. We're grateful for another fun weekend and we're proud of our guy's effort and attitude."
Evangel will open the home portion of its schedule Friday (Feb. 25) with a 1 p.m., doubleheader against Lincoln College to begin a four-game series.
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